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Pliskova faces toughest match — against twin sister

Karolina Pliskova won not only a trophy and a cheque but also a Porsche Boxster car for winning the Stuttgart final.
AFP

Stuttgart (Germany) (AFP) – Former world number one Karolina Pliskova admitted Sunday that the prospect of facing and defeating twin sister Kristyna next week fills her with dread.

“I think the match will look shit -– because when we play together it’s always bad,” said the 26-year-old Czech who will face Kristyna for the first time on the main WTA Tour on home ground in Prague.

Karolina, now ranked at six in the world, said she had no desire to defeat her 72nd-ranked twin whose career has been overshadowed by a sister who was runner-up at the US Open in 2016 and whose title triumph in Stuttgart on Sunday took her trophy tally to 10.

Kristyna has one title on her CV from Tashkent in 2016 and has career earnings of just under $2 million compared to Monte Carlo-based Karolina’s $11 million.

“I had this match in my head since yesterday (when the draw was made). It’s the only thing what I’m thinking from yesterday and today, what are we going to do, how are we going to play? It’s unfortunate,” added Karolina after defeating CoCo Vandeweghe 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 in Sunday’s final in Stuttgart.

“It’s in Prague. Well, thank God it’s not a Grand Slam but still there’s going to be hundreds of people coming to watch.

“It’s bad quality because we know each other and there is some pressure and nerves or whatever and I don’t really want to beat my sister.”

The sisters have never met in the main draw on the main tour — although Kristyna won a qualifying clash at Eastbourne five years ago — but played each other eight times on the second-level ITF circuit, with four wins apiece.

On Sunday, fifth-seeded Karolina earned the second clay trophy of her career after Prague three years ago with her Stuttgart victory.

“I had such great support this week from the public and my team,” said Pliskova, who collected her trophy after being driven across the court in the flame-red Porsche 718 Boxster which came along with her prize money.

The car may have to stay in the German city.

“I don’t have my driving licence, but my sister does,” said the champion. 

“I didn’t have time (to earn the licence) last year but this is a motivation to do that this year.”

The 16th-ranked Vandeweghe enjoyed a great run in Germany’s automotive capital after starting as a wild card entry because her agent forgot to enter her in the event.

The Californian, whose career-long aversion to clay began evaporating during the best week of her life on the dirt, upset three top-10 players — US Open champion Sloane Stephens, world number one Simona Halep and France’s number seven Caroline Garcia.

“Thanks for the wild card,” Vandeweghe said. “I’ve had a fantastic week.

“I tried my best in the final but I didn’t quite get there. Karolina played really well.”

Vandeweghe had won three of their four previous meetings, but lost to the Czech in the Stuttgart second round a year ago.

The American had not dropped serve in her two wins prior to the final. On Sunday, Pliskova broke three times in a one and three-quarter hour victory.

Vandeweghe had been aiming to become the first American champion in Stuttgart since Lindsay Davenport in 2005.

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